22 October 2022
BWT Alpine F1 Team faced disappointment from today’s Qualifying for the United States Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso ninth and Esteban Ocon eighteenth at a gusty Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.
Grid penalties mean Esteban will start seventeenth and Fernando – with a new ICE in his power unit and therefore incurring a five-place grid penalty – in fourteenth for tomorrow’s starting grid.
Esteban exited in Q1 for only the third time of the season as he couldn’t make any improvement on lap-time on his two runs on new sets of Softs.
Fernando was able to progress through Q1 and Q2 as he set his sights on qualifying well inside the top ten with an eye on mitigating the deficit of his grid penalty.
After an initial run on used Softs, Fernando eventually set a lap time of 1min 35.876secs to qualify in ninth place with the engine penalty pushing him back to fourteenth place on the grid for tomorrow’s 56-lap race, which takes place at 14:00pm local time.
Esteban Ocon, P18, 1:37.068: “It’s been a tough day for us today. Going out of Qualifying in Q1 is always a tough one to swallow, especially as we have a competitive car, and we entered this race having qualified in fifth in Japan. The conditions were tricky today and, to be honest, I have not felt at one with the car all weekend. There is definitely work to do to find out exactly what went wrong today but, as always, I’m sure we’ll find those reasons. As for the race, we’ll give it everything to try and get back into the points.”
Fernando Alonso, P7, 1:35.876: “It was very tricky with the gusty conditions and the car felt a little more difficult to drive today, especially through the high-speed corners. In the end, I’m still content with the result, as getting into Q3 was our target going into the session. We unfortunately have the grid penalty, and it would have been nicer to start higher than fourteenth. But we’ll have some fun in the race, and I think we can still score decent points with the top ten the target for us.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “It’s not quite been our day today and we’re certainly disappointed with our Qualifying results. Conditions were very challenging with strong gusts proving difficult for all drivers on track, especially in the high-speed first sector. Unfortunately, Esteban exited in Q1, and he hasn’t quite been at one with his car all weekend, so we have some work to do to identify areas for improvement. Fernando has looked strong in all sessions and he will be frustrated not to have qualified higher – at most seventh place – with the top three teams slightly ahead here. With grid penalties, we start in seventeenth with Esteban and fourteenth with Fernando, which, obviously, is not to our usual standards and we have a lot of work ahead of us if we are to come away with points from tomorrow’s race. That said, there are always possibilities on strategy and we’ll count on both drivers to race well in order to salvage something from this weekend.”